— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) November 12, 2014
Vancouver entered Tuesday night’s showdown with the Ottawa Senators just two points out of a tie for 1st in the NHL, which is a position that basically no one expected them to be in at the start of the year. The Sedins, as we’ve come to expect over the years, came to play, and they lit the Sens up for two goals, including the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory.
Read past the jump for a (late) recap.
The game got off to a breakneck start, as Chris Tanev and Erik Karlsson traded scoring chances in the opening seconds, but then the Canucks took over the run of play early. Ottawa looked lost on a couple of sequences in the period, and Vancouver outshot the visitors 12-6 in the frame, all at even strength.
Despite the early pressure, the score remained 0-0 until early in the 2nd period. At 6:13, Shawn Matthias bull rushed his way past Mark Borowiecki, cut hard into the middle, and jammed the puck under Craig Anderson to put Vancouver ahead 1-0:
Ottawa tied the game 4 minutes later though, as Mike Hoffman got lost in coverage in the slot and buried a puck that squirted out past Ryan Miller. But once again, Vancouver would pull ahead with a goal, this time from Alex Burrows:
The goal was Burrows’ 4th of the season, and it came courtesy of a beautiful pass from Nick Bonino. Despite Chris Phillips being anchored in position on the play, Bonino was able to thread the puck through the Ottawa
pylondefender, right on to Burrows’ tape for an easy tap-in.
However, the 2-1 lead was short lived as New Westminster’s Kyle Turris was able to pick the puck out of traffic and fire a quick wrister from in tight over Ryan Miller’s glove hand, sending the teams to their dressing rooms tied at 2 goals apiece.
Vancouver took the lead for a third time on the night, when Kevin Bieksa fired a point shot past Craig Anderson to put the Canucks ahead 3-2. The play actually started with the Sedins taking an increasingly more common defensive zone start, winning the faceoff, rushing up the ice, and setting up the cycle, before finding Bieksa open at the point:
But again, those #peskySens just would not go away, as Kyle Turris fired an innocent looking shot on Ryan Miller, who was unable to control the rebound. Mark Stone cleaned up the garbage however, hacking the puck past the prone Vancouver netminder to tie the game at 3-3, and eventually send it to overtime.
In the extra frame, as we saw earlier this season against the Habs, we were treated to a little Sedin magic. Henrik walked around Clarke MacArthur and fired a cross-ice pass to Daniel, who did his best Alex Ovechkin impression and hammered the puck by Craig Anderson, giving Vancouver a 4-3 win:
Courtesy of NaturalStatTrick
The game was fairly even after the Canucks dominated the first period, as Vancouver out-attempted the Senators 28-26 in the 2nd and 3rd, and 50-40 on the night. Most of this came courtesy of Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The twins were +24/-9 (72.7%) and +26/-12 (68.4%) respectively, wrecking Chris Phillips and Eric Gryba in particular.
The fourth line with Horvat and DeFazio were pretty solid in very limited time, and the second unit of Higgins, Burrows, and Bonino were pretty good too, although they were buried in a short time against the Michalek-Zibanejad-Ryan line. In just three minutes of ice time, Bonino was a +2/-8 against Ryan, and a +1/-7 against Michalek.
The win puts Vancouver in a tie for 1st place in the NHL with Tampa Bay, and while the start has been fantastic, we have to ask just how long the success will last. The Canucks aren’t the best team in the NHL, and they haven’t really played enough games for us to really have a good read on how good they are. We can guess that they’re an above average team, but we learned last December that a hot streak can run for a month, and the team can still finish in the bottom-10 in the NHL.
The Canucks are back in action on Friday, when they play host to the Phoenix Coyotes. The ‘Yotes have struggled to start the season, but are looking to get back on track with a few wins. Arizona and the Canucks actually haven’t been too far apart in terms of puck possession as they’re both running with a sub-50% Corsi on the season. The biggest difference is that Arizona’s goaltending has been awful. We’ll have more for you on Friday.